Archives Council (MLAC) offer a 'major opportunity to promote the
development of the sector', according to a report, published yesterday.
The report - from the MLAC Design Group, set up by the culture
body, which will come into operation from April next year, should:
- have a key strategic role as a champion and standard-setter for its
sector and the prime source of advice to government,
- seek to be inclusive, establishing links with other national bodies
such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and the New Opportunities Fund in
- be a funding body and have the opportunity to operate challenge
funding initiatives across the sector.
- have UK-wide responsibilities with an international role
representing the sector abroad, and ensuring that full advantage is
taken of EU and other sources of funding.
Culture secretary Chris Smith said:
'Museums, libraries and archives together make up a national treasure
house, providing opportunities for enjoyment and learning for all.
This report is a milestone in the process of establishing the MLAC,
which will be a strong strategic body working on behalf of museums,
libraries and archives and all their users. The findings of the MLAC
Design Group confirm the validity of this concept. I agree with the
general thrust of the group's proposals and my department will be
working towards their realisation by April 2000.
'Detailed decisions about the role and priorities of MLAC will need
to await the appointment of a chair and other board members later
this year. We will ensure that these appointments are made as soon as
possible. There are a number of issues arising from the report
requiring discussion with the libraries, museums and archives
communities over the coming months. To start this process I have
written to the National Museum Directors' Conference to invite them
to propose ways in which the national museums and galleries, and the
British Library, can assist MLAC in its work. In the meantime my
Department would be happy to receive any views from interested
parties about the MLAC Design Group's report as we take this process
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLAC) will receive
£19.5m from the culture department in 2000-01. It will
strive to ensure that museums, libraries and archives are known to
and widely used by all as key resources for creativity, lifelong
learning, economic development and enjoyment. It will be the main
source of advice to the secretary of state for culture, media and
sport on strategic policy within the museums, libraries and
Any enquiries about the report, or representations about the
issues raised within it, should be directed to
Roger Stratton-Smith of DCMS Libraries, Information & Archives
Division, room G06, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH
(Tel: 0171 211 6175;
An advertisement is to be placed in the national press inviting applications for the post of chair of the MLAC. This is a new post within a body created following the comprehensive spending review, which replaces the Museums and Galleries Commission and the Library and Information Commission. The appointment - which is renumerated - will be for a period of three years.
The chair's role will be to guide the establishment of the new body, and to turn it into the single source of strategic advice to government on issues relating to the museums, libraries and archives sector.
Culture secretary Chris Smith said: 'Museums, libraries and archives together provide an astonishingly rich resource, able to provide enjoyment and education for the communities they serve. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council will be a powerful, pivotal body at the point where government and the museums, galleries, libraries and archives communities meet. It will provide leadership, promote high standards and act as a champion for all the areas of activity involved.
'I am keen that the process of selecting a chair for this important new body is as open and inclusive as possible. It is essential that whoever is appointed commands the respect of museums, libraries and archive communities, and drives the body forward with energy and insight.'